Hedgehog Microsites

It’s not what you do it’s how you do it

The "Hedgehog Microsite and Internet Marketing" is a concept taken from Management Guru Jim Collins in his book Good to Great (Chapter 5).

Blog Post: Jim Collins and our CEO Jason Lavin

The video, below, says it all... it's less than 2 minutes, so enjoy. Continue reading beyond the video to see how you can identify your Hedgehog, and what to do with this concept to impact your business.

Audra Gussin

What is your Business's Hedgehog?

Those who have read Good to Great know that this idea states that a business should focus on doing one thing, and doing it really well. By focusing in on that idea, you can beat your competition and become a successful business.

If you still dont know what your business's hedgehog is, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What are you deeply passionate about?
  2. What can you be the best in the world at?
  3. What drives your economic engine?

Once you find the intersection between these three answers, you have found your hedgehog. Let's go into a bit more detial for how we define these three qualifies.

Venn diagram of hedgehog concept

Hedgehog Microsite Qualifier 1: What are you deeply passionate about?

When discovering your hedgehog, one should ask themselves what actually makes you passionate about what you do? This allows you to really work hard on the following two qualifiers. It is important to note that this practice isn't used to stimulate passion, rather to discover the why behind your business' actions.

You could have one, two, or even three products, services, or industries that answer your passion question. That's great. Write them all down, and then see which ones answer the next qualifying question. While you might feel the need to love every aspect of your business, it's okay to pick favorites here. That's the purpose of Qualifier 1.

Hedgehog Microsite Qualifier 2: What can you be the best in the world at?

Every company wants to be the best at something, but few actually have the ability to determine what they can be the best at and what they cannot be the best at. To this end you might say "how do I know if I'm the best in the WORLD?" - in truth, you don't.

For this qualifier, reframe the question to this statement: "there might be plenty of other companies who do 'X' just as well as we do, but there's truly no one better."

This will help you narrow down your list, and prepare you for the final qualifier.

Hedgehog Microsite Qualifier 3: What drives your economic engine?

Businesses need to understand what activity actively contributes to generating sustained cash flow. If it's just something you're good at and passionate about, but doesn't make you money - that's called a hobby. At the end of the day, your hedgehog will absolutely contribute to your bottom line.

So what products, services, or industries made it through all three? List them out. You're looking at your hedgehog lineup.

Why Do I Need a Microsite if I have a Landing Page?

This is a great question we often get. "We already have a page on our website for Service 1. Why do we need a whole hedgehog microsite for Service 1?"

When you search Google, you are looking for something in particular, utilizing intentful search phrases to tell Google what you need. Google then uses the content on a site to serve you a solution to what you had searched for. By having an entire site specialized to answering this one specific topic, you are in a much better position to rank higher than a simple landing page.

It also serves you on the paid traffic side. One of the many factors that Google evaluates for how much you pay-per-click is your relevancy to the term searched. You can absolutely optimize to a single landing page, but we have seen success in lowering your cost-per-click (CPC) with a hedgehog microsite.

This also tells Google that you are an expert in this specific topic. To put this into context, think that you need a new pair of shoes. You could go and visit your local Target since they do have a shoe section. However, if you wanted to go and talk to someone who knows all about shoes, you'd want to go to a store that only sells shoes - somewhere that is a shoe expert. The same goes for websites. By having a website specialized in a particular topic, you position yourself as an expert about that topic.

When people don't yet know you or your company, they only care about their problem. Having a hedgehog website dedicated entirely to their problem's solution puts you in an excellent position to have a higher conversion rate. All thanks to our spiked friend.

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